That’s all Bernie had thought of for the last three weeks. It seemed that every time she closed her eyes, all she could see was Serena’s surprised face when she had first kissed her. Serena. With her eyes wide open, her lips slightly parted. And then her movement, her face coming closer again for another kiss. And another. Until they were both breathless, their lips damp and their hair a beautiful mess. And, then , of course, another team had came into the theatre which that had definitely ruined the mood,
Bernie, ever the train ed army medic, was quick on her feet. When she offered her hand to Serena to help her up , even the touch of their hands had brought Bernie out in send goosebumps.
And now, three weeks later, even after that awkward talk in their office, all Bernie could think about, was Serena. Everything about her.
“I still feel guilty for leaving.” Bernie turned her head towards the woman she was thinking about.
“Don’t. We’ll be home soon enough and then you’ll miss the peace and quiet.” Serena chuckled and Bernie smiled at her.
They had both been travelling to France for a four-day conference. Henrik was not happy about having both his AAU leads out of the country at the same time, especially so soon after the stabbing incident but both Serena and Bernie had been invited to talk. Even Serena was reluctant to go. She had promised Evie the best Christmas ever and was helping Raf with the kids until Fletch was cleared to go home. And there were so many things to do before the 25th that Serena was stressed by the mere idea of going.
Bernie, on the other hand, was more troubled by her travel companion. Being near Serena all day almost everyday was torture. She had no idea how on earth she would manage a four-day “vacation” in Paris during the Christmas season.
Somehow, she had managed just fine. And Serena had managed to relax, thanks to the two glasses of wine she had during the flight.
And now, here they were, waiting for their flight back to England.
“I really like snow.” Serena said, completely out of the blue.
“Me too.” Bernie replied. “And there was a time when I even liked rain.”
“Really? How very British of you...” She teased gently.
Bernie turned towards Serena-sitting on her right. “When I came back from Iraq, I hadn’t seen rain in almost three months. It’s very rare there during the summer. When I got out of the airport, it was pouring outside. People were running everywhere, shouting for a cab or at each other but I … I just stood there for, I don’t know, maybe a full minute before I realized I was about to catch my death.”
“That’s a lovely story.” Serena said smiling at her. It was rare for Bernie to talk about her time in the army. And with the recent stabbing she could understand why.
“Yeah. I don’t feel that way any more.”
Serena laughed at her friend and their eyes locked for a moment before Bernie turned her gaze back to the snow falling on the car park .
“God… I’m bored. And those seats are doing a number on me. I can’t feel my bum any more.
Just when Bernie was about to offer a walk and coffee, an announcement came over the loudspeaker . Serena understood immediately-even though it was in French and she cursed.
“What’s wrong?” Bernie asked. “Is the flight cancelled?”
“No.” Serena shook her head. “Indefinitely delayed.”
Bernie sighed loudly before standing up. “All right. We’ve got to move fast.”
“What?” Serena asked perplexed.
“Serena, I’ve taken enough planes in my life to be able to tell you that we are not going back to England tonight. It’s still snowing here and I saw the news, it’s worse in London. We need to get out of here and find an hotel room for the night. You go outside and find us a cab and I’ll book us on the next flight for London tomorrow.”
Bernie had talked very fast. Serena knew she was right. She had more experience with travelling anyway. But she still didn’t like it.
“I need to make some phone calls.” Serena said.
“Of course. You go and I’ll take the bags.”
Ten minutes later, they were both in a cab to a small hotel near the airport. Serena had called Fletch, Jason and Elinor, to explain the situation. They all underst ood , even though Jason was slightly disappointed.
Bernie turned her head to look at Serena. T he brunette was clearly upset. She had tears in her eyes. Bernie did n’ t know what to do. She had never seen Serena cr y before. Well, only once really. It had been a long shift and they had ended it w ith a quiet night at Serena’s house. She had opened u p about her parents and tears had c o me. The only other time Serena had almost cried was when Bernie had told her she might be sen t to Kiev for a secondment. The blonde had not y et made her decision but the look of utter fear and sadness on her colleague’ s face h ad been enough to reject it. Even if Bernie had wanted to run after their kiss, she had stayed. She couldn’t have hurt Serena intentionally.
N ow, she had no idea what to do.
They check ed -in and made their way to the l ift .
“Maybe we could grab something to eat. Go to a restaurant or something if you want...” Bernie said, unsure of herself.
“I don’t know… I’m tired. Goodnight, Bernie.” Serena quickly went into her room and closed the door behind her. Now Bernie remained alone in the corridor. Her room was just next door, but still... She had to do something. It was Christmas, well, almost anyway and she needed to cheer her best friend up. At any cost.
She went into her room and was surprised. The place was nice, with a white carpeted floor and a little Christmas tree. She could see the lights of the airport in the distance and it was still snowing heavily outside. She looked at her suitcase and at the communicating door between the two rooms. She had a plan.
On the other side of the wall, Serena quickly took off her clothes and jumped into the shower. She let the hot water warm her up. She felt… conflicted. She had hoped to be home on time. To spend a nice Christmas with her family. But on the other hand, she was glad to be spending it with Bernie. They could have a nice night together and celebrate. They could have had. If she had not shut her door right in Bernie’s face.
“You stupid idiot...”, she muttered to herself in the shower. How she would have loved to have Bernie all to herself for one last evening. With the conference, they had been too exhausted to go out. And now with the snow… The truth was, Serena could not help but think about their kiss. She longed to kiss Bernie again. And again. She had felt things during that kiss that she had thought were long gone. For a woman her age at least. But no. That was a first kiss she would never forget. It had been awkward and they hadn’t got the angles right at the start but Serena was a fast learner. And Bernie a great teacher.
When she had finished showering, she felt even sadder than before. She put her pyjamas on and dropped onto the bed. She turned the TV on and found an old movie to watch. She got bored in minutes and was about to switch it off and just go to sleep when her phone beeped.
“You asleep yet?” Serena smiled. At everything. The text, the name “Major Bernie” and the picture of the two of them laughing Jason had taken with her phone one night at Albie’s.
She had only just sen t the text when she heard a knock on the connecting door. She got up and opened it slowly.
Bernie was there and only her head was showing.
“What are you doing?” Serena asked laughing.
“Hmm… It’s a surprise. Just close your eyes.” Serena was about to say something but Bernie was quicker. “I know! You don’t like surprises but I don’t care. Close your eyes.”
“All right, Major.”
Serena did as she was asked. She could feel Bernie opening the door fully. The blonde took Serena’s hands and guided her inside her own bedroom. Bernie let Serena’s hands go and went to stand right behind her. “OK. Open them!”
Serena gasped. “Oh Bernie.”
Bernie had obviously made a call. She had lit up the Christmas tree and had asked for food to be delivered. A lot. Candles were lit and the TV had been tuned to a music channel Serena did not recognize. The music was nice and smooth.
She turned to her friend who was staring at the floor. “Thank you.”
“I know it’s not how you expected to spend the evening but I thought… Merry Christmas.”
Serena smiled and pulled Bernie into a hug. She was the only one allowed to do that, and she enjoyed it.
They sat down at the table and Bernie reeled off the list of dishes she had ordered – room service ones, but rather a good selection.
“Oh my! I wish we had wine,” Serena said when Bernie finished her enumeration.
“Well, that can be arranged.” Bernie stood up and went to her suitcase to retrieve what seemed to be a bottle.
“There you go.”
Serena laughed. “Thank you.” It was a bottle of Bordeaux wine that Serena had said she liked. They opened it and started to eat, shar ing anecdotes, laugh ing , talk ing about everything and nothing. Serena did n’t know if it was the wine or the candle lit room but Bernie seemed to look at her in a certain way. She wanted to both look away and continue go on staring at her at the same time. After a while, she realised she had taken a shower and therefore had no make-up on. Maybe that was what Bernie was looking at.
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Like what?” Bernie asked and Serena saw her friend was blushing.
“I don’t know. I know I took a shower and I have no make-up on so-”
“Don’t.” Bernie interjected. “I know what you’re about to say and don’t. I’m looking at you because you’re beautiful. Make-up or no make-up.”
Serena could tell that Bernie was embarrassed by what she’d just said, but she meant it.
“Damn, Major, that was cheesy.”
Serena took a sip of her wine and was suddenly on her feet. “Since you gave me my present, I will give you yours!”
She came back and handed Bernie her gift. Bernie laughed out loud when she saw what it was.
“French for dummies. You’re a real comedian.”
“Well, I think it’s safe to say this could help.”
Bernie refilled their glasses again and kissed Serena’s cheek.
“Thank you. Actually, I’ve got another one for you. The bottle was a false gift. I was hoping you would share with me. This one is the real one.”
Bernie put a tiny box in front of Serena. She had not wrapped that one. Serena took it carefully. She could tell by her friend’s demeanour that whatever was inside was important. She opened it and stared at it for a few seconds.
“If it’s too much, you don’t have to-”
“When? How? Thank you! Thank you so much!” Serena put her arms around her friend’s neck and hugged her. Tightly.
They had both had an afternoon off during the convention and had decided to go for a walk. They had come across an antique shop and gone in . Serena had spen t several minutes looking at a pair of earrings. S he had finally decided not to buy them, saying she had already spen t far too much on Christmas presents. Serena had no idea when Bernie had gone back and got them but she was so glad. No one had ever done anything like that for her before.
“Gosh! I got you a book and look what you’ve…”
“It’s okay. I love my book. And you loved those earrings and-” Bernie stopped herself.
Serena looked at her. Nothing could have i nterrupted this moment. Serena came closer and put her lips really gently on Bernie’s.
The blonde did n’ t move for a moment. She savoured the moment . Because when she move d , everything would change. E ither Serena would reali se what she was doing and pull away, or she would keep going. But now that she had started , the brunette was not about to stop. Serena moaned against Bernie’s mouth and that was the end for Bernie. She put her hands on Serena’s face and pulled her even closer.
They kissed for what seemed to be the longest time before Serena was the one to pull back. “ You can’t imagine the number of times I’ve wanted to do that.”
“Oh I believe I can.” Bernie said smiling. Serena was still close to her so she took the opportunity to put her hands on Serena’s hips and pull her into another kiss.
“What happened to keeping it confined to theatre?” Serena asked teasingly.
“What happened to shy and embarrassed Serena?” Bernie replied.
They both laughed and looked at each other.
“I meant what I said, Serena. I don’t want to make you uncomfortable. I really like you. I-”
Serena shushed Bernie by straddling her. “I want you. I was so scared, so surprised when I reali s ed that . But I like you too. I want to be with you.”
“Really?” Bernie asked with a disarming smile.
S erena nodded and kissed her again. Bernie ran her hands along Serena’s back, moaning her appreciation all along. From time to time, Bernie let her hand r u n lower and lower, until she was caressing Serena’s b ottom .
“Oh Bernie.” Serena moaned. “Take me to bed.”
“I would carry you but my back won’t let me.”
Serena quickly got to her feet and grabbed Bernie’s hand to pull her up quickly. She pushed her on the bed and straddled her again. “ And now, I don’t know what to do...”
Bernie smirked and looked up at her. “Well. You know, when two people like each other sometimes they want to be close and-”
“Shut up, Bernie.” Serena laughed. But that had done the trick. Serena had relaxed a little. She got down so she could kiss Bernie again. A few minutes later, clothes had been discarded. Serena was on her back, letting herself be explored by Bernie.
“You’re so beautiful.” The blonde murmured against her neck.
“Thank y-”. A loud moan escaped her throat. Followed by another one and another one. Until she couldn’t stop and came. Hard and fast. Really fast. Bernie looked at Serena, a little surprised by how little it had taken.
“Did you just?”
“Yes…” Serena trailed off.
When their eyes met, both women giggled. “I’m go ing to have so much fun with you tonight. Merry Christmas to me.” Bernie said.
Serena pulled her into another kiss. “I think it’s more Merry Christmas to me.” She sighed when Bernie’s kisses trailed downwards again.
It was a very good Christmas.